Category Archives: Family

Medical Mondays: I’m a NURSE!

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After two long years of nursing school, and four long years of school in general, I am finally officially a NURSE!  This road has not been easy by any means and I thought it might never get here but I actually made it out alive.

I started back to school part-time in June 2009 and knew for sure I wanted to be a nurse.  My community college has an extremely competitive nursing program.  I knew that if I wanted to have a fighting chance at admission I had to have excellent grades and a very good score on the entrance exam.  I finished my pre-req’s and applied April 1, 2011 for fall admission.  At the end of May 2011 I received notification that I hadn’t been accepted into the RN program but was offered a spot as an alternate to the LPN program.  To say I was disappointed would have been an understatement.  Going the RN route directly meant only 2 more years of school but starting in the LPN program and bridging to the RN program meant at least 3 years in front of me.  I got over the disappointment quickly and praised God for the opportunity to become a nurse, no matter the route it was going to take.

I started nursing school August 2011 and by the second day in I knew something wasn’t quite right.  I heard multiple students talking about their grades and I got the distinct impression something with my application hadn’t been figured right.  After two conversations with the Dean of Nursing it was discovered that a mistake had been made and I actually should be in the RN program.  There are no words for how excited I was and how extremely blessed I felt in that moment.

The feeling was short lived only because the reality of nursing school hit hard and fast.  Tests every week, lab check-offs every other session, and a constant fear of failure were my companions.  Getting through the first weeks felt like some kind of alternate boot camp where we had to leave who we thought we were behind and learn a whole new way of life.  Tests weren’t simple anymore.  There were questions with multiple correct answers but we had to know the MOST correct answer.  Yes, that’s right, the MOST correct answer.  It was like learning a foreign language that had multiple possibilities for one word but we had to make sure we knew the MOST right word.  Yep, like that.  The end of the first semester alone felt like a victory.  We had survived and we might actually get through this crazy thing.

Somehow three more semesters went by and I made it.  I passed every class, loved my clinicals, and made friends who I know I will have for a lifetime.  On May 17th I donned a cap and gown and joined my fellow graduates to celebrate our accomplishments.

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Graduation was one of the proudest times of my life.  I walked across the stage, was pinned as a nurse, and said the Nurse’s Pledge.  I had accomplished a major goal and it was a feeling of relief and pride.  But it wasn’t completely over yet.

To become a registered nurse you don’t just have to complete a program (diploma, ASN, or BSN) but you have to take a national exam to show that you are able to be a competent entry level nurse known at the NCLEX-RN.  The NCLEX was originally the “big test in the sky”.  In August 2011 it seemed like something that would never get here.  In May 2013 it seemed like the scariest prospect a nursing graduate can come up against.

The NCLEX is the road block between a graduate nurse and a licensed RN.  It costs $200 and it’s one of the most stressful and nerve racking things I’ve prepared for in all my life.  The last two years prepared me along with a live review and Kaplan course.  I studied for hours each day to try to prepare to pass a test that many people fail every day.  That’s a thought I tried my best to keep out of my head.

I scheduled my test for June 10th and told very few people about it to try to reduce the stress (yeah right!).  The test is only offered at certain testing centers so I made my appointment and Gabe and I stayed at a hotel the night before the exam.  I started my test at 7:40 a.m. and finished with the minimum number of questions (75) about 45 minutes later.  I walked out of the testing center at 8:30 a.m. feeling relief and fear of failure all at once.

Most people I know were finding out the next day whether they passed but it could be 48 hours before the quick results were ready.  I knew I had a wait ahead of me so I headed back to the hotel prepared to go to breakfast with Gabe and to fill the next day or two with distractions.

I started texting my classmates right away to let them know it was over and the wait had begun.  Less than 30 minutes later at a little before 9:00 a.m. one of my friends texted me to say my license number was already up on the state website.  It was official, I was an RN!!  I could have done a cartwheel, I was that excited.  It honestly didn’t seem real.  Everything I had done for four years was to make this happen and yet it didn’t seem possible when it actually happened.  I shared my news with the world and had so many congratulations it made me want to cry.  The support I had from Gabe, my family, my church, and my friends is truly what got me here.  I am a nurse and could not be more proud to be able to say that.

Now to find a job…

MedicalMonday

Breathe, Sometimes I Feel It’s All That I Can Do

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The title of this post is from a song that I love. MercyMe’s song “The Hurt and the Healer” talks about loss and not understanding. It talks about the only healing coming from the Lord. I believe in that from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. I believe it because I have lived it.

Ten years ago today I lost my dad. He had struggled with kidney failure for 2.5 years but his death was very sudden. He succumbed to congestive heart failure, a complication of the kidney failure.

I was devastated. He was 46 and I was 22. I never expected to bury my dad before I had children, before he retired, before he got to finish living his life.

Following his death I went through a period of depression, which is normal but so very different than my everyday personality. I wasn’t sleeping and very little of life brought me joy at that time. I know without a shadow of a doubt that my faith brought me out of that time and helped me want to live life to the fullest again.

I still miss my dad every day. I look at my children and grieve because he would have loved them so very much. I know that they would have had a blast with their papaw Max and I hate that they have missed out on that.

One of my very best memories of my dad is on my wedding day. I have a picture* in our dining room of him walking me down the aisle.

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I love this picture. It really was a beautiful moment. I’m glad I have this but it’s another picture*, one that’s not in a frame, that truly captured the emotion of the day.

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I almost cry every time I see this photo. Our photographer somehow caught this moment, raw with emotion and so quickly fleeting. To others it might mean nothing more than an “ugly cry” in a picture. To me it means the world.

Our ceremony was over and we were greeting people. There was laughing and congratulations. It really was a happy time. When it was my dad’s turn he wrapped me up in his big arms and told me how much he loved me. He choked back tears and that’s all I could take. I cried as I hugged my dad, knowing he didn’t want to let his baby girl go. As he let go the photographer caught my face and a glimpse into a deeply personal moment between a father and daughter and for that I will forever be grateful.

Today, ten years after his loss, the breath still catches in my throat at times and I can’t believe so much time has passed since I saw him last. I still go to visit him but it’s here.

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I know this isn’t really where he is but the dad that I knew, the body that I hugged, is there. It gives me comfort when I know I can be just a little bit close to that body again.

I’m sad today and having a hard time but I’m thankful I had my dad for 22 years. He was a good man and a good dad. I love you dad.

*Please ignore the quality of the first two photos. I didn’t have the energy to scan them so I took a pic with my phone. I know it’s not the best but it’s what I could offer today.

Phoning It In

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Well, I was planning to do a “Thrifty Thursday” but tonight we had Aiden’s open house and when we got home the power was out. It hasn’t rained all summer and tonight it’s raining buckets. Now we’re at Gabe’s fabulous sister’s house and getting pizza to pass the time. Yep, we invaded her house.

So, instead of modest money issues I’m going to share pics of my adorable kiddos. Enjoy!

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Livi makes all her own fashion choices and I did not have a say in this at all. To be clear, it was a beautifully sunny day when she insisted on wearing her rain boots.

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Aiden rode the bus for the first time yesterday and I met him at school to make sure he was okay. He loved it and insisted on riding again today. Too big, too fast! 😉

Love these kids!!

Simply Thankful Saturday – My Grandma

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Today is my grandma’s birthday. I could not be more thankful that God has given her another year.

My grandmother isn’t just a grandma to me. When my brother and I were toddlers and our parents divorced it left my dad on his own with two kids. Luckily he wasn’t alone. My grandparents played a huge role in raising us. My dad worked out of town so we stayed with my grandparents during the week. They took us to school and picked us up, grandma had an afternoon snack ready, and at the end of the day she was the one that sat on the bed and made sure I said my prayers.

My grandma taught me that it’s a strong woman that takes care of her family, that prayer is our first line of defense, and that family means everything.

When I got married and started a family my grandma stepped up yet again to do something amazing. When I went back to work she was the one that watched Aiden. She kept him every day, both because she loved him and because she wanted to save us money.

My kids have an awesome bond with their grandma. Aiden is the angel boy and Livi is the angel girl. They can truly do no wrong.

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My grandma is the only mother I’ve ever really known and I could not have asked for a better one. I very much hope we have many more years to celebrate. Happy birthday grandma!

Simply Thankful Saturday – Sleep

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I love sleep. I mean, I LOVE it. I like to go to bed and snuggle under covers. I like to make sure the room is nice and cool so I can have lots of blankets on but still be comfortable. I like the room to be dark with a fan on for just a little bit of background noise. If I can make it happen I am most happy with about 7-8 hours of sleep. That’s when I can wake up well rested and ready to start the day.

That did NOT happen today. Today I woke up about 5:30 when my poor little Aiden came to my room saying his tummy hurt. It wasn’t long before he was throwing up and I was laying in bed with him to comfort him between trips to the bathroom. Of course he would feel better for a short time before the belly pains would come back.

After the throwing up stopped the diarrhea started (sorry!) and my poor guy has been running back to the bathroom every little bit. He hasn’t eaten anything and he just feels bad.

Right now I’m thankful for sleep because he is able to get some. Sleep is a good thing and I hope he feels better when he wakes up.

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Modest Monday – First Edition

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I want to start my first Modest Monday by stating that these are MY beliefs. If you don’t agree with them, it’s completely okay. I won’t make you read about them and you won’t say mean, critical things, okay? I am happy to agree to disagree and know that it’s okay to have different opinions.

All that being said, I dress modestly. I believe that I don’t need to show off every part of my body to look and feel attractive. These days it seems like you can’t turn your head without seeing every part of a woman’s body.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not ashamed or a prude by any means. I am a nursing student and am continually in awe of the human body. I am not ashamed or embarrassed to see a body, I have given people bed baths and never blinked an eye.

What bothers me is that people think they need to show off everything they have but are then shocked they can’t seem to find someone who will respect them. I saw this on Facebook recently and loved it.

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This jumped out at me because it rang so true. If someone is attracted to you because they can see everything there is to see, why do they need to get to know you, to respect you and care more about you than just about your body?

That’s what I want my daughter to learn. I want her to know that a man who only wants her because she’s wearing something skimpy, isn’t a man worth having. I want her to find a man that can see she respects herself enough to keep her body covered and that she’s worth so much more than bare skin. She deserves it.